A couple of vacant lots in the shadow of Tod Mountain should be the toast of Sun Peaks Resort come September.
Pacific National Exhibition chose the resort as the destination for its 2012 Prize Home, a 3,000-square-foot luxurious mountain-style home that will offer the winner a ski-in, ski-out getaway.
Sothebys International Realty and the fair have been collaborating on the high-profile project for the past 18 months. A PNE committee visited to choose the properties at 5411 and 5415 Lookout Ridge Drive.
"It's very exciting," said Liz Forester of Sotheby's. "The house is complete at the PNE grounds. They're about done the final touches and people should start filing through in July."
The interior designer currently dressing up the home in preparation for the fair is Jillian Harris, who rocketed to fame on the ABC reality TV show The Bachelorette in 2009. Hailing from Peace River, Alta., Harris did design work for the Cactus Club and Browns Restaurant chains before she featured on season five of The Batchelorette, the most sought-after candidate to that point with 30 suitors interested.
Since The Bathelorette, Harris has hosted Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and this season hosts Canada's Next Handyman. How did she tackle a lottery prize home interior?
"Like I approach everything," she said. "I believe a space should reflect an owner's personality. In this case, we have designed a home around a client who doesn't yet exist."
She took a broad pallette to the open-concept design — " a little old world, a little new world, a little B.C. country charm."
"I've always wanted to own a cabin. I've always wanted a home away from home. I designed it so it might please anybody from my age to retirement."
The home features 20-foot ceilings and plate-glass wine cellar greets visitors as they enter. There are three fireplaces, including one in the master bedroom, and an outdoor fireplace and hot tub. A "massive" sports room will be fully equipped when the house goes on show.
"I think one of my favourite rooms is a part of the house that could be a kids room. I turned it into a bunk room — four bunks with a flatscreen TV and a Romeo and Juliet balcony."
The main bathroom, by comparison, offers a touch of formal glamour with pearl effervescent wall coverings. There are decks off the living area and master bedroom, which also features an ensuite with a standalone tub beneath a chandalier.
Rustic touches include exposed beams and exterior stone walls. Of course, the home has to be modular so that it can be disassembled and shipped after the fair.
"These lots were strategic in siting of the home because they (the PNE) don't do basements, they do crawl spaces," Forester explained.
She describes the setting as peaceful and tranquil, a site that offers ready access to the slopes, the golf course and cross-country skiing as well as other resort amenities.
Harris, who has relocated to Chicago for her TV career, was happy to reconnect with B.C. on this project.
"It turned out better than I expected. I'm actually quite pleased."
On the market, the home would sell for close to $1 million, Forester estimated.
There is probably no higher-profile home construction and design project in B.C. The PNE Prize Home is a fair tradition that dates back 79 years, said Shelley Frost, the fair's vice-president of marketing. About 125,000 people will file through the home this summer.
"We were the first to do this with a lottery and, of course, we love the tradition of it."
The odds are a whole different order of math than the local Y Dream Home, but the tickets, on sale since May 7, are tempting at five for $25 or 15 for $50. About 150,000 sheets of tickets are purchased each year.
Forester's expecting the PNE will visit the resort again July 7 to take advantage of the publicity draw of a free concert featuring Kevin Costner & Modern West.
And Harris, the TV host who once described herself as "a polished redneck"?
"I'm hoping a nice, 35-year-old man will win it so I can get it myself," she quipped.
PNE PRIZE HOME
Tickets for 2012 PNE Prize Home are $5 for 25 or $15 for 50. They can be purchased online at www.pne.ca/pneprizehome. In addition to the grand prize, there are 12 2012 vehicles offered as secondary prizes. There are also early-bird draws.